Meet the Team
Lesley Parkinson, Executive Director
Lesley is the Executive Director at Restorative Thinking Limited, working with PCC’s, Youth Offending Services, Prisons, Probation Services, Local Authorities and partner organisations to manage the effective implementation of Restorative Thinking programmes, training, consultation and strategies.
Lesley worked in education until 2007, and successfully managed regional and national education programmes for Youth Offending Services and Attendance Centres before establishing Restorative Thinking Limited early in 2012. Lesley trained as a restorative practitioner, has co-written Restorative Thinking’s suite of training packages and is co-author for Restorative Thinking prevention and intervention programmes.
Lesley promotes the restorative education of service users (including young and adult offenders, parents, pupils and children) both as a key life skill and as a means of addressing harm.
In June 2013, Lesley received a Shackleton Foundation Leadership Award: http://shackletonfoundation.org/what-we-fund/shackleton-leaders/
Lesley has worked as a volunteer mentor for young people seeking employment and education, and as a volunteer with Victim Support. From 2012-14, she was a primary school Parent Governor and Link Governor.
Catherine Holland, Criminal Justice Consultant
Catherine is a writer, speaker, coach/mentor and consultant focused on developing the practice of senior leaders.
Catherine worked for 14 years in the Probation Service first as a Director for corporate services and later as Chief Executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands Probation Trust, the second largest Probation Trust in the UK.
Catherine led SWM Probation Trust through extensive and challenging changes brought about by the Government’s Transforming Rehabilitation programme, becoming Chief Executive of Staffordshire and West Midlands CRC, and later the newly formed Reducing Reoffending Partnership, incorporating DLNR CRC.
A former social worker and trainer Catherine’s values are routed in a belief in the capacity for people to grow and a desire for a more just and equal society. In Probation Catherine fostered positive relationships in the work place and promoted service user engagement in the design and delivery of services.
She strives to be an authentic leader and uses her passion, personal experience and story-telling to inspire others.
Widowed suddenly in 2016 Catherine has experience a major personal change. She writes and talks about her experience of bereavement and resilience and believes passionately that sharing such personal transformations can empower and support others.
Catherine holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies, and a MSc (distinction) in Organisational Development and Management Learning.
Catherine brings a wealth of experience and fresh thinking to her consultancy role with Restorative Thinking Limited.
Jackie Potter, Director, Consultant and Coach
Jackie is an experienced leader with a strong track record of delivering change and achieving results in challenging circumstances. She has worked in a variety of organisations at a national, regional and local level where she has successfully introduced fresh thinking and improved ways of working.
As Chief Executive of Corridor Manchester Jackie led a partnership of the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester Foundation Trust and Manchester City Council to develop and implement a vision for knowledge based growth for the City by harnessing private sector investment and the assets of the institutions.
As Deputy Chief Executive of Blackpool Council she provided strategic leadership of the regeneration function, responsible for a Directorate of 500 staff, a revenue budget of £3.5m and a capital budget of £150m.
Jackie was a Member of the Government Office North West Management Board with responsibility for planning and transport policy across the North West including challenging housing issues.
Jackie has worked with senior boards and developed effective partnerships between sectors. She is experienced in developing strategies, action planning and improving performance and efficiency. A highly skilful facilitator with a wide range of delivery experience of economic development and physical regeneration as well as major organisational change and improvement programmes. Jackie is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited and also works as a Consultant and Coach, using her leadership experience to support the company and colleagues with personal and business growth.
Chris Straker, Director and Lead Trainer
Chris is our Lead Trainer and helped to develop an implementation package of restorative practice with Approved Premises in the Midlands and North East Divisions (2015-16), towards fostering inclusive residential environments. Chris has delivered training in prison settings, with teams looking to draw on restorative practice to improve relationships between staff and residents and to include restorative practice in the adjudication process.
Chris has drawn on this experience to develop training in restorative practice with Youth Offending Services, Prisons, Probation Services, Children’s Services and Schools, developing leadership within organisations on strategic, wide-scale, implementation of restorative and relational practice.
Chris is a keynote speaker on restorative and relational practice at conferences in the UK and internationally in the USA, Canada and Hungary.
Chris is an Assessor and Consultant for the Restorative Justice Council’s Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM) and Training Provider Quality Mark (TPQM). This sees him working with agencies across the UK, to help them develop restorative practice as organisations.
Chris is a Director with Restorative Thinking Limited, developing training packages, delivering consultation and training with Local Authorities, HMPPS, Prisons and Probation Services, Youth Offending Services, Schools and Children’s Homes.
Michelle Morgan, Trainer and Programme Facilitator
Michelle is an experienced teacher who has worked with adults, international students, asylum seekers, and young people aged 11-18. More recently, Michelle has focused on improving outcomes through behaviour, relationships and restorative conferencing and practice as a trainer in restorative practice. Of particular interest to Michelle is the teenage brain and how its development impacts on relationships, cognition, memory and learning.
Michelle led on the implementation of restorative practice at the Academy of St Francis of Assisi in Liverpool, training staff in the theories and principles of restorative practice and coaching staff to improve relationships with young people.
With a background in business studies and trained in coaching since 2009, Michelle delivers Restorative Thinking’s full range of training programmes in multi-settings, and delivers our prevention and intervention programmes in community and criminal justice settings.
Christine Savage-McMahon, Trainer and Programme Facilitator
Christine began her career teaching psychology and drama and developed a passion for restorative practice whilst working with young offenders. Christine was the co-ordinator and manager of restorative practice with Calderdale Council for over 15 years and worked to inspire many of those who live and work there.
In addition to working with Calderdale employees and developing workforce practice, Christine has delivered restorative practice training and coaching in schools, Criminal Justice Services, with families and in Care Homes. All of Calderdale Council’s Care Homes have recently received ‘outstanding’ from OfSTED. One Calderdale residential Care Home won an award for changing the lives of children and their families through restorative practice.
Christine is also a professional storyteller and has travelled to different countries telling stories and running workshops and has given talks on the links between oral storytelling and restorative practice. Christine is a qualified dramatherapist and continues to incorporate these practices into her work.
With Restorative Thinking, Christine delivers training and coaching and delivers Restorative Thinking’s prevention and intervention programmes in both community and criminal justice settings.
Dr. Helen Flanagan, Trainer and Consultant
Helen began teaching in 1986 in Kirkby, Merseyside, and continued to teach in secondary education until 2004. During that time Helen was Head of Department and Pastoral Senior Leader. It was during this time that she began training in restorative approaches. In 2004 Helen left mainstream teaching to take up a position with Sefton Local Authority as Behaviour Improvement Programme Manager which involved working with and advising schools: primary, secondary and special on developing inclusive and positive approaches to education, particularly behaviour. Having completed her MA in Inclusive Education Helen has developed a knowledge and understanding of Primary and Early Years education, Family Support and Special Educational Needs.
In 2007 Helen began working in West Lancashire and also across the whole of the county to support schools in developing restorative approaches to teaching and learning. Working within Skelmersdale for SHARES Helen has gone on to complete her PhD in Education, looking at the impact of restorative approaches on school culture and learning.
Through working with SHARES Helen has developed programmes that focus on building a consistent approach between home and school. She has written and delivers a very successful Peer Mediation programme and Parenting programme, both underpinned by restorative approaches.
Helen works with Restorative Thinking, writing and developing programmes, delivering training in schools, Children’s Centres and prisons, and training trainers in these settings.